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The Past and Present Society

A Society Organized for War: Medieval Spain Author(s): Elena Lourie Source: Past & Present, No. 35 (Dec., 1966), pp. 54-76 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Past and Present Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/649966 . Accessed: 27/06/2011 13:31
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A SOCIETY ORGANIZED FOR WAR: MEDIEVAL SPAIN*


THE MOSLEMS INVADED SPAIN IN 711 AND CONQUEREDIT IN SEVEN

years. "What was lost in seven years, it took seven hundred to regain".1 Thus from the start, the Christians in the surviving fragments of the unitary Visigothic state, were organized for war in a particularly purposeful sense: a war of religion and a war of reconquest. At first the task must have seemed insuperable and probably was scarcelyconceived of except in terms of immediate self-defence. The tiny Asturian State, first nucleus of resistance, protected by the Cantabrianmountains and by a vast no-man's-land stretching to the river Duero, was peopled only by a handful of refugee magnates and churchmen with their followers, and the permanentinhabitants of an area which had always been backward, rebellious and remote from the centre of power.2 With such meagre resources, in the face of what, for long, was an incomparably superior civilization, not even the extra incentive of a religious war could make the early-expressed claim to be the heirs of the Visigoths3 - their government-in-exile, as it were - less than ridiculous. Yet quite apart from the built-in weaknesses of the Moslem state,4 even in the great days of the Caliphate of Cordoba, the Moslem conquest had not been all loss to the hard-pressed Christian rulers, huddled in their northern mountains. The powerful aristocracy of the Visigothic kingdom had been ruined. The need for a united
* This article makes use of material published by Spanish and Hispanist scholars whose work is not readily available in English. I would like to thank Professor Lionel Butler of St. Andrews University for his helpful criticism. 1 J. H. Elliott, Imperial Spain 1469-1716 (London, 1963), p. 14. C. Sanchez-Albornoz, Espaia, Un Enigma Hist6rico (Buenos Aires, I956), ii, pp. I6-33. L. Barrau-Dihigo, Recherchessur l'Histoire Politique du Royaume Asturien 718-910 (New York, Paris, 1921), pp. III-4. 3 R. Menendez Pidal, El Imperio Hispdnico y los Cinco Reinos (Madrid, 1950), pp. 21-4. L. G. de Valdeavellano, Historia de Espana, 3rd edn. (Madrid, I963), i, Pt. i, p. 435. Barrau-Dihigo, op. cit., pp. 213-4. 4 For the divisions between Arabs, Berbers and Slavs within the Moslem state at all periods until its collapse in Io3I see E. L6vi-Provencal, L'Espagne Musulmane au Xe Siecle: Institutions et Vie Sociale (Paris, 1932), pp. I ff., I30-I, I35-6. Idem, Histoire de l'Espagne Musulmane (Paris, I950-3), i, pp. 889; ii, p. 274; iii, pp. 74-5. C. Sanchez-Albornoz, En Torno a los Origines del Feudalismo (Mendoza, 1942), iii, pp. 235-6.
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command strengthened the ruler's authority and the very small geographical extent of the kingdom during the first two centuries of its existence helped him maintain close control over his officials. The king thus started with an advantageand a new aristocracyarose under the shadow of the monarchy.5 The king's advantage was increased by the progress of the Reconquest, since the Roman Law maxim that all lordless land belonged to the fisc was firmly maintained, modified less by large-scale usurpations than by frequent grants by the ruler himself of land in full ownership. Indeed it was precisely the availabilityof large tracts of land as the Reconquest progressed which made it unnecessary to resort to the benefice - the conditional grant of land - as the sole or even chief means of rewarding or creating a mounted force.6 Yet the need for a cavalry force grew as the Christians descended from the mountains into the plains north of the Duero and the Ebro. In Leon and Castile this took place at the end of the ninth, and in Aragon in the later eleventh, century. Lacking a powerful aristocracy with numerous serfs and slaves to settle in great estates, these northernplains, particularlyin Castile, were very largely colonized by free small-holders, attracted by the grant of easy terms from the king or those magnates, lay and ecclesiastical, who had received a royal commission to settle newly recovered areas. It was from among these non-noble freemen that one of the most important military classes in medieval Spain was recruited: a class that emerged in the struggles between Castile and Le6n in the tenth century and was a factor in the civil and inter-Christianwars in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but whose formation was chiefly due to its role in the Reconquest from the capture of Toledo in io85 to the fall of Seville in I248.7 This was the class of the commoner-knights, the caballerosvillanos, whose numbers greatly increased as numerous towns arose between the Duero and the Tagus to hold the new frontier
5 Sanchez-Albornoz, Espaia, Un Enigma, ii, p. 59. Barrau-Dihigo, op. L. G. de Valdeavellano, "Les Liens de Vassalit6 et les Immunites cit., p. 222. en Espagne", Recueils de la Societe Jean Bodin, i (I958), pp. 223 ff. For the king's legal authority to exile a vassal or subject arbitrarily by virtue of the ira regis, see Valdeavellano, "Las Instituciones Feudales en Espafia", appendix to the Spanish transl. of F. Ganshof, El Feudalismo (Barcelona, 1963), pp. 253-8. E. de Hinojosa, "El Derecho en el Poema del Cid", in Estudios sobre la Historia del Derecho Espaiol (Madrid, 1915), p. 88, n. 2. 6 Sanchez-Albornoz, Espaia, Un Enigma, ch. xii. Sanchez-Albornoz, op. cit., ii, p. 476. On Aragon see J. M. Ramos y Loscertales, "La Observancia 31 'De Generalibus Privilegiis' del Libro VI", Homenaje a Menendez Pidal (Madrid, 1925), iii, pp. 228-9.

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in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries.8 Many of the small men who came to settle the new lands, although lacking sufficientresources to carve out great estates for themselves, were nevertheless very well able to afford a horse. Thus with the descent from the mountains the demand for a cavalryforce and the means of supplying it appeared simultaneously. Indeed, as settlement became more systematically organized, newly conquered towns would be divided into caballerias (cavalryportions) and peonias (infantry portions) to be allotted to newcomers who accepted the relevant obligations.9 Already by the late eleventh century, under the Almoravidethreat, king or senormight give both horse and armourto freemen in return for cavalryservice. The grant was called a benefice - or rather the usual term in Le6n and Castile was prestimonio- but it was not a noble benefice nor was it accompaniedby any ceremony or ritual.10 At first such grants had to be returned to the donor on the death of the beneficiary, but by the second decade of the twelfth century it had become common, as an inducement to the growth of this class of soldier, formally to grant a man hereditaryrights to the horse and armoureven if his heir were a minor. An interesting transition stage appearsin a privilege grantedin Le6n whereby the horse and arms had to be returned if the caballerodied at home, but not if he died in action.11 Since land was not in short supply, to encouragethe growth of this essential arm in the military organization of the state, it was only necessary to grant them privileges. At first they appear, in contrast to the nobles, the caballeroshidalgos, almost completely submerged

8 C. Pescador, "La Caballeria Popular en Le6n y Castilla", Cuadernos de XXXV-V Historia de Espaia (hereafter CHE.), xxxiii-iv (I96I), pp. IOI-238; (I962), pp. 56-201; xxxvii-viii (I963), pp. 88-198; xxxix-xl (I964), pp. 169-260. For the towns see J. M. Lacarra, "Les Villes-Fontieres dans l'Espagne des XIe et XIIe Siecles", Moyen Age, lxix (I963), pp. 205-22. 9 Pescador in CHE., xxxix-xl (1964), pp. 177-8. For a similar division of land in twelfth-century Saragossa see J. M. Lacarra, "Documentos para la Reconquista del Valle del Ebro", Estudios de Edad Media de la Corona de Arag6n (hereafter EEMCA.), ii (I946), pp. 543-4. Caballeria could also mean a knight's fee or money fief held by a noble; cf. loc. cit. below, note 35. 10Prestimonio was a term applied to all conditional grants whether for life, a term of years, or ad nutum and included benefices to noble vassals in return for homage and military service as well as holdings granted to agricultural tenants: see Valdeavellano, "El Prestimonio. Contribuci6n al Estudio de las Manifestaciones del Feudalismo en los Reinos de Le6n y Castilla durante la Edad Media", Anuario de Historia del Derecho Espaiol (hereafter AHDE.), xxv (I955), pp. 5-122; H. Grassotti, "Apostillas a 'El Prestimonio' de Valdeavellano", CHE., xxix-xxx (I959), pp. 167-217. 11T. Mufioz y Romero, Colecci6n de Fueros M/lunicipales y Cartas Pueblas de los Reinos de Castilla, Le6n, Corona de Aragon y Navarra (Madrid, I847), i, pp. 97-8. Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (1961), pp. I34-7.

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in the tax-paying classes and frequently owing semi-servile labour dues.12 But almost from the start they began to accumulate judicial and fiscal privileges so that by the thirteenth century some were wholly exempt from taxation, either royal or municipal. However, all their privileges were closely linked to their function and their usefulness. Total tax-exemption was rarelygiven merely for a horse, but only for a horse of a certain quality and with elaborate military equipment and arms. To encourage the commoner caballerosto improve their arms, the Leonese kings began in the late twelfth century to establish a tariff of exemptions from military service, as well as taxation, which affected the dependants of the caballero. Thus a knight who came with full equipment for himself and his horse including a tent could exempt eight dependents or fellowcitizens from military service, whereas a knight with merely shield, lance and helmet could exempt only two. In most cases these exempt men had to be foot-soldiers.13 Another privilege and one of great social and political importance was the reservation, begun tentatively in the late twelfth century and almost complete by the end of the fifteenth century, of all municipal offices to the knights, whether noble or commoner.14 Inducement alone was not always relied upon to provide non-noble cavalrymen. Cavalry service was on occasion made compulsory for those who could afford it. In twelfth-century Calatayud on the frontiers of Aragon and Navarre the municipal authorities were empowered to seize and sell a man's goods in order to buy him a horse, if he could afford it and had failed to buy one himself.15 In the fourteenth century the very success of the Reconquest and the frequent truces with Granadamade Alfonso XI concerned about the strength of his frontier defences. He therefore obliged those with certain minimum incomes to maintain a proportionate number of horses. These men, who now had not only to ride themselves but to maintain others who were excluded, it seems, from the privileges of
12Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (I96I), pp. 147 ff. Not all Sra. Pescador's early examples may refer to caballeros villanos; see Sanchez-Albornoz, ibid., pp. IOI-2; Pescador in CHE., xxxix-xl (I964), p. I73. On exemptions from personal services see idem, in CHE., xxxvii-viii (I963), pp. 89 ff. 13 Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (I96I), pp. I64-6, 177-80; xxxv-vi (I962), xxxvii-viii (I963), pp. 148-60. A. Palomeque Torres, "Contripp. I97-20I; buci6n al Estudio del Ejercito en los Estados de la Reconquista", AHDE., xv (I944), pp. 3IO-I7. 14 A. B6 and M. del Carmen Carle, "Cuando Empieza a Reservarse a los Caballeros el Gobierno de las Ciudades Castellanas", CHE., iv (I946), pp. II924.

Pescador in CHE., xxxix-xl (I964), pp. 200-33. 1 Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (I961), pp. I60-I,

cit., pp. 245-6.

Mufioz y Romero, op. cit., p. 460.

182-3.

Palomeque, loc.

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commoner-knights,16 were the caballeros de cuantia or de alarde (knights of minimum wealth who attended the annual or bi-annual inspections, sanctioned by loss of status and privileges, of horses and equipment). Their field of action dwindled from all the frontierprovinces to Murcia and Andaluciaalone in the sixteenth century. In 619 they were suppressed by royal edict as "unnecessary to the king's service".17 Thus early and late there was real distraint of knightthere hood, but with a strictly military purpose. For these caballeros was no mystique of knighthood; they were privileged because they were useful. Entry into their ranks was solely the result of acquiring a horse, inheriting one or having it thrust upon you. And exit was just as casual. The unreplaced loss or sale of one's horse would reduce one to the ranks of the tax-paying infantry.18 The non-noble cavalry in the walled towns which protected their own inhabitants and the scattered villages in which the frontiersmen settled, played a dominant role not only in times of declared war but in that day-to-day atmosphere of insecurity, characteristic of the frontier, which made it necessary to grant wide privileges and liberties to all settlers, not merely those who could maintain a horse and arms. The constant threat of Moslem raids as well as the aridity of much of the land made pastoral farming and stock breeding far more attractive than agriculture, since the animals could be moved away when the alarm was given. But for much the same reason cattle and sheep and horses were particularlyattractiveas booty, and cattle-stealing, especially between Moslems and Christians, was a frequent and lucrative occupation.19 One of the most important and minutely detailed duties of the caballeroswas therefore to act as guardsmen of the pastures, as well as, more generally, to patrol the
frontier.20
16Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (I961), p. 209. 17 Pescador, loc. cit., pp. 203-Io, 215, 229-38. 18 The methods of becoming a caballero villano are listed by Pescador in CHE., xxxv-vi (1962), pp. 56 ff. For loss of this status see loc. cit., pp. 81-2, 84-9. 19For Idrisi's testimony to wealth in cattle see L. Torres Balbas, Resumen Historico del Urbanismo en Espaia (Madrid, I954), pp. 37-8. For the attraction of cattle and horses as booty see Chronica Adefonsi Imperatoris, ed. L. Sanchez Belda (Madrid, I950), paras, 36, 38, II9, I3I, I87. On cattle-stealing see the Fuero of Calatayud (which mentions Christian culprits), Mufioz y Romero, op. cit., p. 464; Forum Conche, Fuero de Cuenca. The Latin text of the Municipal Charters and Laws of the City of Cuenca, ed. G. H. Allen in two parts (University Studies, Univ. of Cincinnati, 2nd ser., vi, no. I, 9gIo), cap. xxxI, rubric I2; "Fuero sobre el Fecho de las Cavalgadas", Memoria Historico Espaiol, ii (I85I), tit. XVII, p. 456; Pescador in CHE., xxxv-vi (1962), pp. I86-7. 20 Palomeque, loc. cit., pp. 225-8, 342-6. Pescador in CHE., xxxvi-vii (I963), pp. 99-I24. M. Estela Gonzalez, "La Anubda y la Arrobda en Castilla, CHE., xxxix-xl (1964), pp. 6-42.

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The same sense of insecurity, of a society on the alert for danger, appears in the regulations relating to the gathering of the harvest. Exactly the same precautionsagainst a surprise attackon the denuded city were taken then, as when the organized host left to campaign in enemy territory.21 Even the fire-drill of the town reflected the attitude of a society conditioned by danger and war. When a fire breaks out in the town, the citizens are straitlyordered not to rush to the fire but to the city-gates in order to secure them; and only then may they put out the fire; for, the statutes explain, wilful incendiarism is a well-tried rusede guerremuch used by fifth-columnists anxious to let in the enemy. And the statutes of Plasencialearnedly add: "Thus was Troy destroyed".22 In such a society cowardice was dangerous and co-operation a necessity. Hence a number of frontier towns condemned to death anyone who either ran away from battle, or hid in order to avoid having to fight, or failed to help anyone in danger once he had been seen to be in danger.23 But though grimly conscious of their exposed position and given to war as a way of life, these frontier towns did not sacrifice the individual to the group in any Spartan fashion. Their laws were neither inhumane nor mean. In some cases the caballero was exempt from military duty during the first year of his marriage. He was also exempt if his wife was in labour or his parents dying or he himself had been recently widowed. Old age, too, excused him from service without loss of status. Moreover, his widow often continued to enjoy his privileges though she lost them if she married an infantryman.24 Some control over individual freedom was necessary. But restrictions on leave of absence derived as much from the economic needs as from the military duties of the frontier. One could not go away for long without losing the privileges of a citizen as such, much less of a caballero,since permanent domicile was usually the essential condition for each. However, individual freedom and military discipline were usually reconciled in a compromise which permitted the caballeroto be away during the winter months as long as he was present from ist May to October, that is for the campaigningseason.25
Palomeque, loc. cit., pp. 24I-4. The edition by J. Benavides Checa (Rome, I896) Idem, ibid., p. 242. was unavailable to me. 23 Palomeque, loc. cit., p. 290. 24 Idem, ibid., pp. 233, 309, n. 303. Pescador in CHE., xxxv-vi (I962), p. 89. Sixty was the normal retiring age. 25 Idem, ibid., pp. IOI-2; xxxix-xl (I964), pp. I83-5.
22

21

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The non-noble knights were not, of course, the only cavalry force at the king's disposal. There was also the dubbed knight, the nobleman. The nobles of Castile and, with slight variations in terminology, of Aragon, were divided into two classes: the greater called ricos hombres and the lesser, the infanzonesor hidalgos, often, especially in Aragon, simply called caballeros. The generic name hidalgoswas often used for both greaterand lesser nobles, and nobility as such was hidalguia.26 Already in I093 the caballerohidalgo was defined in terms of blood and lineage, ratherthan economic power, or function.27 Originally they owed the king military service simply as subjects, for the Visigothic principle that all subjects had a duty to serve the king in peace and war never died.28 But from an early date, owing to the circumstances that attended the birth of Castile in the tenth century, the Castilian nobility achieved the privilege, besides that of tax-exemption, of freedom from military service except in return for a benefice in land or money;29cash payments indeed were greatly facilitated in the eleventh century when the successor-states to the Caliphate began paying the Christian rulers heavy annual tribute.30 This privilege seems to have spread to Le6n by the twelfth century, but in Aragon, at least in theory, an unbeneficed noble had to give three days' service at his own expense, whereasa beneficed one had to serve for two or three months.31 But the grant of a benefice in land or cash was not necessarily accompaniedby the act of homage. Nor was the beneficiaryalways bound by a special tie over and above the allegiance owed by all subjects to the king. Indeed the general oath of allegiance never disappearedas it did in France between the eleventh and thirteenth
26 Vidal de Canellas, Vidal Mayor. Traducci6n Aragonesa de "In Excelsis Dei Thesauris", ed. G. Tilander (Leges Hispanicae Medii Aevi, v, Lund, I956), ii, p. 453. M. del Carmen Carle, "Infanzones e Hidalgos", CHE., xxxiii-iv pp. 58-o00. L. G. de Valdeavellano, Historia de Espaia, i, Pt. ii, (I962),

27 E. de Hinojosa, Documentos para la Historia de las Instituciones de Leon y Castilla. Siglos X-XIII, (Madrid, I919), pp. 40-I. 28 Palomeque, loc. cit., p. 213. 29 Sanchez-Albornoz, En Torno a los Origines del Feudalismo, i, p. I8I; iii, pp. 277-9. Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (I96I), pp. I43-4. The Fuero of Castrojeriz (974) which equated the caballeros villanos with the nobles on this score too is in Mufioz y Romero, op. cit., p. 38. 30 H. Grassotti, "Para la Historia del Botin y las Parias en Le6n y Castilla", CHE., xxxix-xl (I964), pp. 52-62. 31 Ramos y Loscertales, "La Observancia 31 'De Generalibus Privilegiis' ", de Idem, "Recopilaci6n Homenaje a Menendez Pidal,iii, pp. 228,229-30,232-3. los Fueros y Usos de los Infanzones y Barones de Arag6n liecha en II34", ibid., p. 237. Vidal de Canellas, Vidal Mayor, ed. G. Tilander, ii, p. 435.

pp. 64-5, 472.

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centuries. The king in fact could get military service without a benefice and fealty without vassalage. All the ingredients of feudalism were there: immunity,32vassalage,benefice; but they never congealed into the mould characteristicof north Europeanfeudalism. The benefice and vassalagenever joined to create a fief in the accepted sense. For even where they were joined, the grant never became hereditary, not even in the area which was most remote from, and least affected by, the Moslem invasion - the far northwest corner of Galicia.33 By the time that the extent of the kingdom called for considerable delegation of authority, and when civil wars, minorities and the influence of France might have led to a retarded imitation of the French model,34the opportunity had gone - for the rise of the towns, common to the whole of Europe, created an inhospitable atmospherefor the development of a feudal society. Thus in Castile it is possible to speak of a feudal ambiance, of a societe and Aragon35 vassalatique,but not of feudalism, except of course in Catalonia, which was conceived in the Carolingian womb and early displayed a classic feudal hierarchy.36 Furthermore, public office was never feudalized. Although administrativeposts were granted as benefices from the late eleventh century presumably as a result of French influence, the grants never became hereditary. Even as benefices they were scarcely feudal. - did not necessitate Alfonso X insisted that such grants- or honores feudal homage, since the bestowal of royal authority implied in itself
32 Sanchez-Albornoz, "La Potestad Real y los Sefiorios en Asturias, Le6n y Castilla, Siglos VIII-XIII", Revista de Archivos Bibliotecas y Museos, xxxi (1914), pp. 263-90. J. Guallart, "Algunos Documentos de Inmunidad de Tierra de Le6n", CHE., iii (1945), pp. I68-85. Valdeavellano, "Las Instituciones Feudales", appendix to Ganshof, El Feudalismo, pp. 240-5, 280-I. 33 Valdeavellano, "El Prestimonio .. .", AHDE., xxv (I955), p. 72. Only two hereditary fiefs have been found in Castile: Sanchez-Albornoz, "Un Feudo Castellano del Siglo XIII", AHDE., i (I924), pp. 387-90; R. Paz, "Un Nuevo Feudo Castellano", AHDE., v (1928), pp. 445-8. 34M. Defourneaux, Les Franfais en Espagne aux XIe et XIIe Siecles (Toulouse, I949). 35 Even in Aragon the descent of knights' fees to the direct heir-male was not automatic in the fourteenth century: see Actos de Cortes del Reyno de Aragon (Saragossa, I664), fos. iv.2 (I366). 36 On the peculiarities of feudalism in Castile, Aragon and Navarre see Valdeavellano, "Las Instituciones Feudales", app. to Ganshof, El Feudalismo, For Catalonia see ibid., pp. 286-300. There is a useful bibliopp. 229-86. graphy on pp. 301-5. For a different emphasis see Salvador de Mox6's review article of Valdeavellano: "Feudalismo Europeo y Feudalismo Espaiiol", Hispania, xxiv (I964), pp. 123-33. A good short survey is Valdeavellano, "Les Liens de Vassalite et les Immunites en Espagne", Recueils de la Soc. Jean Bodin,

i (1958), pp. 223-55.

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the presence of a high degree of fealty.37 The only two counts who, governing exposed and distant marches, gained independence from the king were the count of Castile in the tenth, and the count of Portugal in the twelfth century. But neither had been given their posts as hereditary fiefs, although Alfonso Henriques had the advantageover the Castilian count in that Portugal had been given to his father as a hereditary grant in full ownership.38 Both however achievedtheir aims by successful rebellion. The Castilianusurpation was particularlynoticeable in that the comital title which, unlike the Burgundian Henry's, was of Spanish origin, became hereditary until the creation of a kingdom in I035. The retardednature of Castilian feudalism is illustratedby the antique significanceretainedby the title of count. Both in the Astur-Leonese kingdom and afterwardsin that of Le6n-Castile, a comes or conde still kept the associations of the comitivaor board-companionsof a great lord or king. It was not an administrativeoffice, and an administrativearea was called a county only as long as a count held it and ceased so to be called as soon as he was transferred elsewhere. It was above all a personal dignity, an honorifictitle acquiredfor life and the highest in the social hierarchy. archaicsignificancestill enduredin the fourteenth This extraordinarily century when Alfonso XI made Alvar Nufiez a count. The king seated him on a dais and brought him a cup of wine and three dishes, of which the main ingredient was bread. The king said: "Eat, count", and the count said: "Eat, king". They said this to each other three times and then they ate together from the same dish. There was, however, much that was self-consciously archaic in this ceremony since we are told that "because for a long time there had been no count in the kingdom of Castile and Le6n there was some doubt how to go about it".39 And the peculiarities which had
37 Valdeavellano, "El Prestimonio...", AHDE., xxv (I955), pp. 39, 58-9. N. Guglielmi, Grassotti, "Apostillas.. .", CHE., xxix-xxx (1959), pp. 191-2. "El 'Dominus Villae' en Castilla y Le6n", CHE., xix (I953), p. 72. E. Corona Baratech, "Las Tenencias en Arag6n desde 1035 a II34", EEMCA., vi (I946), pp. 379-96. Alfonso X, Las Siete Partidas, edn. Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, I807), Pt. ii, tit. xxv, ley ii. 38 P. Merea, "A Concessao da Terra Potugalense a D. Henrique perante a Hist6ria Juridica", AHDE., ii (1925), pp. 169-78. P. David, "Le Pacte Successoral entre Raymond de Galice et Henri de Portugal", Bulletin Hispanique, 1 (I948), pp. 289-90. Sanchez-Albornoz, Espaia, Un Enigma, ii, pp. 425 ff. For the rise of Castile see Valdeavellano, Historia de Espaia, i, Pt. ii, p. I33. 39 Cr6nica del Rey D. Alfonso el Onceno (Biblioteca de Autores Espafioles, Sanchez-Albornoz remarked that the lxvi, Madrid, I875), cap LXI,pp. 210-I. title of count disappeared in the thirteenth century. In fact Sancho IV made Lope de Haro a count on i Jan. 1287. Since Lope asked specially that his son should inherit the title, it was clearly still non-hereditary. Sanchez-Albornoz, En Torno a los Origenes del Feudalismo, i, p. 127. Cr6nica de Sancho IV (Bibl. Aut. Esp., lxvi, I875), p. 74. M. Gaibrois, Historia del Reinado de

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markedthe title in Spain disappearedin the fourteenth century and it became an hereditary distinction as elsewhere. But, though public office became hereditaryin the later middle ages and eventually came to be concentratedin the hands of the titled nobility, the feudalization of public office was by then impossible. For although in some cases treated as such, the offices so controlled could never, given the influence of Roman Law in the later middle ages, be regarded as private property, as anything but offshoots of the central authority, nor could their holders fail to be seen formally as royal servants, however feeble the king.40 Finally, although the civil wars following the assassination of Pedro I witnessed an enormous increase in the alienation of jurisdiction into private hands, this was a seigneurial rather than a feudal phenomenon. For the holders of immune sehorioswere not necessarily vassals and the duties of the latter remained essentially and archaicly personal.41 There was no concept of multiple lordship or liege homage. As late as the mid-fourteenth century the punishment was death.42 for a vassal who took benefices from two senores The caballerovillano could be the vassal of an hidalgo, and indeed some urban statutes are careful to provide rulings for a possible clash of loyalties, stipulating that, should the senor attack the town, the loyalties of the vassal must lie with his fellow citizens. He can only help his lord to the extent of giving him a mount should he be unhorsed. Some went further and stipulated that no caballero villano might take as senor the lord of the town.43 In Portugal, although the king agreed to count those vassals of the ricos hombres among the urban knights as part of the former's cavalry contingent, it was clear that the caballerosvillanos in question nevertheless did
40 L. Suarez, Nobleza y Monarquia (Estudios y Documentos. Cuadernos de Historia Medievalia, xv, Facultad de Filosofia y Letras de la Univ. de Valladolid,

41 Sanchez-Albornoz, Espaia, Un Enigma, ii, p. 71. Most of the large compact senorios were incorporated into the royal estates at the end of the Middle Ages. The usual chequer-board type helped maintain the supremacy of royal jurisdiction and confine seigneurial autonomy to local administration: see Salvador de Mox6, "Los Seiiorios. En Torno a una Problematica para el Estudio del Regimen Sefiorial", Hispania, xxiv (1964), pp. 188-9. 42 Ordinance of Alcala de Henares (I348), cap. lxxii. Cortes de los Antiguos Reinos de Le6n y Castilla (R. Acad. de la Hist., Madrid, i86i), i, p. 550. The in normal in the eleventh and benefice was cash. Money-benifices, quite twelfth centuries, became the rule in Castile in the thirteenth: Valdeavellano, "Las Instituciones Feudales", in Ganshof, El Feudalismo, pp. 275-7. 43 Pescador, in CHE., xxxiii-iv (1961), pp. 128-34. For a ruling in Palencia (1181) which distinguished between a knight in his lord's company and one in the city at the time of the attack see ibid., pp. I72-3.

I959), PP. 18-27, 63, 102-3.

64

PAST AND PRESENT

NUMBER 3 5

service with the rest of the urban militia. The urban frameworkwas proof against a semi-feudal tie.44 The caballerovillano in turn could be a sehor,and like the nobles be a partner in a relationship with non-noble freemen which was unique to Castile, Le6n and Portugal - but particularly, because of the circumstancesofreconquest and settlement, to Castile. The majority of the early settlers were independent small freemen. But as time went on, because of a natural tendency towards the polarization of society and because the growth of large estates was abetted by usurpationsand royal grants of immunity, these small men began to feel the need for protection. At first it took the form of a very free commendationto a powerful man which made one his hono de benefactoria or as it was called in Romance, behetria. Originallyone could choose and change one's lord freely and when, in the thirteenth century, this freedom became rare, it was given a name: the behetriade mar a mar.45 In the twelfth century Castile and Le6n were torn by prolonged civil wars, repeated minoritiesand revolts. It was probablythen that the greatest number of freemen entered the behetriarelationship in Castile - which suffered most. At the same time conditions became gradually harsher. The most glaring change was the restriction in the choice of lord to the members of a single family. This resulted in a further burden on the behetria-mansince all the relations of his lord wanted to capitalize their possible candidacyand began insisting on paymentsover and above those owed to the actualsenorin returnfor his protection. Furthermore,the chaotic state in which Castilefound itself during long stretches of the twelfth century permitted others beside the seigneurial family to demand a cut from the behetria-men and so add to the number of sharesor divisaspaid by the latter. This is the only way to explain the appearance of the all-powerful Lara family as diviserosin scores of Castilian villages. For even the most prolific breeding would hardly account for the sudden irruption of their claims. What is particularlyworthy of note is that the change takes place not in the extreme north - old Castile and the Cantabrian area - but in the plains, where the fighting was done. It was here
44 Sanchez-Albornoz, "Las Behetrias: La Encomendaci6n en Asturias, Le6n y Castilla", AHDE., i (1924), p. 239, n. 104. Sepuilveda permitted the knight to serve with his sehor. Ucles qualified this with the obligation to pay the town part of his booty. R. Gibert et al., Los Fueros de Sepzlveda (Publicaciones hist6ricas de la Exma. Diput. Prov. de Segovia, i, 1953), p. 460. 45 Sanchez-Albornoz, loc. cit., pp. I98-243, 285-6. C. M. Benedito, "Nuevas Behetrias de Le6n y Galicia y Textos para el Estudio de la Curia Regia",

AHDE.,

vi (1929),

pp. 408-28.

A SOCIETY ORGANIZED FOR WAR: MEDIEVAL SPAIN

65

that the proliferation of Lara claims appeared and the behetriasde linaje, or lineage, were concentrated.46 But behetriaswhether individual or corporate,where whole villages commended themselves to a lord, were not found south of the Duero. For there the walled towns - Madrid, Avila, Salamanca, Segovia, Toledo, Sep/ulveda, etc. - afforded sufficient protection.47 Even north of the Duero, concern for urban liberties made some towns insist that the villagers within the area of the town's jurisdictionwere de behetriaof the chief citizens, that is, of only to become the hombres villanos.48 the caballeros villanoswere by now the most important class in the The caballeros towns of central Spain. Together with the resident hidalgos,where the latter were not excluded from municipal office,49they formed an urban patriciate of a military nature sharply contrasting with the mercantile aristocraciesof the great cities of Europe from Lombardy to Flanders. Probably the closest parallel would be the ruling class in the less developed states of south and central Italy. But the important point is that these towns did not set the tone of Italian society, whereas the militarized patriciates of Castile-Le6n and Aragon were the most characteristicof Spain.50 So much so, indeed, that even in Andalucia whose cities had always been the richest and most populous in Spain, and among her chief mercantile centres, even there where the Castilian kings were concerned to encourage the
46 Sanchez-Albornoz,loc. cit., pp. Idem, "Muchas Paginas Mas 244-312. sobre las Behetrias", AHDE., iv (1927), p. 85. Garcia Gallo "Textos del Derecho Territorial Castellano", AHDE., xiii (1936-41), pp. 317-32. 47 Sanchez-Albornoz,"Las Behetrias", AHDE., i (1924), pp. 258-9. For Ormachea, "Una Behetria de 'allende' el Duero", AHDE., vi (I929), pp. 437-40. 48Sanchez-Albornoz, "Muchas Paginas Mas", AHDE., iv pp. 30, (I927), 90-3. 49M. del Carmen Carle, "Infanzones e Hidalgos", CHE., xxxiii-iv (I96I), p. 98.
60

the only known behetriaon the south bank of the Duero, see R. Garcia

Diferenciaci6n Politica" in Espana y el Islam (Buenos Aires, I943), p. 179.

Sanchez-Albornoz,"Espafia y Francia en la Edad Media. Causas de su

Medieval (Madrid, I960),

Only those towns which developed along the pilgrim routes to Compostela sharedthe generalcharacteristics of urban developmentto be found in the rest of western Europe. Valdeavellano,SobreBurgosy los Burgueses de la Espaia L. Vazquez de Parga, J. M. Lacarra,J. Uria, Las Peregrinaciones a Santiago
pp. I56-7. On these north Spanish towns see

(Madrid, 1949), ii. For the comparative insignificance of the non-noble knights outside Spain see Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (I96I), pp. o08-14. Lombard Communes (London, 1906), pp. 48, 81-3, I80 ff. 1961), pp. 82, 83-4, 87-8, 288. On central and

For a similardevelopmentin the earlystagesonly but thereafterone so divergent as to be almost the reverse of the Spanish experience see W. F. Butler, The south Italy see D. Waley, The Papal State in the Thirteenth Century(London,

66

PAST AND PRESENT

NUMBER 35

mercantile community, it was specifically the status of caballeros that was given to the merchants who settled in the most important of all,
Seville.51

However, the extraordinaryleap forwardin the thirteenth century, when both Castile and Aragon greatly increased their area, the initially far greater size of Castile and her policy of expelling large numbers of the Moslem cultivators, meant that, even with the vast jurisdictionalareas allotted to the cities, her kings could not hope to organize and settle the new conquest on their own.52 The result was the grant of huge lordships, often in free gift or with immunities, though carrying the duty of military service,53and the consequent foundation of the great aristocratichouses of Spain with their underpopulated and under-exploited latifundia which exist to this day. Just as small men got grants directly from the king of holdings in full ownership or on lenient tenancy-rates, on condition that they maintained residence, so the lay magnates, churches and great military orders received vast grants on condition that they undertook colonization. The military orders had appeared in Spain in the twelfth century. They were not especially active as colonizers but their militaryrole was immediatelyapparent.54 So apparent,indeed, that Alfonso I of Aragon, the conquerorof Zaragoza,dying childless shortly after his defeat in battle against the Moslems, bequeathed his kingdom to the three orders of St. John of Jerusalem,the Temple and
51Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (I96I), p. I86. R. Carande, "Sevilla, Fortaleza N. Tenorio, "Las Milicias y Mercado", AHDE., ii (1925), pp. 276 n. 82,286-7. de Sevilla" Rev. Arch. Bib. Mus., xvii (1907), p. 225. 52Castile's territory grew by nearly 50%, her population by barely Io0; Aragon grew in area by 40% and in population by 300%. S. Sobreques, "La Epoca del Patriciado Urbano" in Historia de Espaia y America, ed. J. Vicens
Vives

early marriage and large families by Alfonso X see Las Siete Partidas, Pt. ii,
tit. xx, leyes i-iii. xxix-xxx

(Barcelona,

I96I),

ii, pp.

o0, 11-2,

46, 47.

For the encouragement

of

53H. Grassotti, "Apostillas a 'el Prestimonio' de Valdeavellano", CHE.,


(1959), pp. 183 n. 52, pp. 210-2. Cristiana

CHE., xxxiii-iv (I96I), p. 46.


Raiz de la Reconquista (Barcelona, I959),

J. M. Font y Rius, "La Comarca de Tortosa a


(1148)",

Idem, "Pro bono et Fideli

Servitio",

64Elliott, op. cit., pp. 14-15.


pp. 148-50,

Vicens Vives, Historia Economica de Espana


Sobreques, loc. cit., pp. 12-21, 44. (Madrid, 1965), pp. 49-50.

CHE., xix (1953), P. 115.

For the colonizing activity of the order of Santiago see ibid., pp. II9-28; idem, "El arzobispo D. Rodrigo de Rada y la Orden de Santiago", Hispania, xviii (I958), pp. 3-37. The military role of the Hospitallers is deprecated by S. A. Garcia Llaraguete, El Gran Priorado de la Orden de San Juan deJersualen, Siglos XII-XIII (Pamplona, 1957), i, pp. 39-4I. But see J. Goiii Gaztambide's review in Hispania Sacra, ix (I956), pp. 461-4; M. Ledesma, "Notas sobre la Actividad Militar de los Hospitalarios", Principe de Viana, xcix-v (I964), pp. 5I-6.

doms see D. Lomax, La Orden de Santiago II70-1275

On the relative importance of the various orders in the different Spanish king-

151, 152.

A SOCIETY ORGANIZEDFOR WAR: MEDIEVALSPAIN

67

the Holy Sepulchre. Not even the beneficiaries expected this extraordinarywill to be implemented and contented themselves with very lucrative compensation for its non-fulfilment. The Aragonese nobles, having to rush through a solution in face of the far from tentative designs of the king of Le6n-Castile, seized on Alfonso's only brother, Ramiro, monk and bishop-elect, secularized him, married him, waited for him to father a child, betrothed her, for it was a daughter, to the adult count of Barcelonaand returned him to his monastery, all in the space of three years.55 But popular and powerful though the Templars and Hospitallers were, their thunder was stolen by the native Spanish orders. Indeed the most important of these, Calatrava,was founded as a result of the Templars falling down on the job. They announced that Calatrava could not be held against the Almohades and handed it back to the king. Two Cistercian monks from a monastery on the NavarroCastilian frontier led a group of their fellow-religious to this now isolated and exposed fort and so, although Citeaux was far from pleased, founded a new military order. The peculiar form of this foundation, whereby monks became soldiers, is of more than transitory interest. For it underlines the strong resemblance borne by all the Spanish orders to the Moslem ribat. The ribats were fortified monasteries which from the eighth century arose along the frontiers of the Moslem empire to protect them and also to act as headquartersfor maraudingraids into enemy, infidel territory. Both attack and defence were considered part of the duty of Jihad or holy war. These ribats were unlike monasteries in so far as entry into them did not necessarily represent a permanent vocation. One needed merely to do a stint of days or months or years there to pile up treasure in heaven. In between the bouts of military activity, the inmates engaged in ascetic religious exercises. Women were not admitted. But, as a Hadit quoted by Averroes made clear, a man who lived on the frontier was not thereby a murabit;only one who left his home to go to a place of danger. It was necessaryto have a horse, and one achieved extra merit by buying one's own; but a horse would be supplied if one came without. The foundation was supported by endowments, alms and booty. The ribats were also different from
55F. Balaguer, "La Chronica Adefonsi Imperatoris y la Elevaci6n de Ramiro II al trono Aragon6s", EEMCA., vi (I956), pp. 7-40. A. Ubieto Arteta, "Navarra-Arag6n y la Idea Imperial de Alfonso VII de Castilla", ibid., pp. 4182. P. E. Schramm, "Ramon Berenguer IV" in Els Primers Comtes-Reis (Biografies Catalanes, iv, Barcelona, 1960), pp. 9-I8.

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PAST AND PRESENT

NUMBER 35

the military orders in the type of person who staffed them. The permanent nucleus tended to be mystics, scholars and theologians, in this way approximatingmore to the civilian monasteries of the west. The great age for these military monastic foundations in Spain was the eleventh and twelfth centuries, just prior to the foundation of the Spanish military orders. The influence of the ribat on these orders is apparentin the fact that except, and then only initially, for Santiago, the Orders of Spain, Calatrava,Alcantara, Montesa and Avis, were never Hospitaller foundations, unlike either the Temple or Hospital. From the first they were intended to engage in holy war, on the frontier and in the most exposed and dangerous areas. At least in the early centuries they fulfilled these obligations. Thus when Old fell into the hinterlandwith the progressof the Reconquest, Calatrava the Order moved its headquartersto New Calatrava,further south, and again on the frontier.56 The military purpose of the ribats was not the only military influence of the Moslems on the Christians in Spain. The very tactics for which the warrior-monksof the ribats were famous were characteristic of Moslem tactics in general and were copied by the Christians. This was the organized raid: the cabalgada and its variantthe algara; an analogue of the latter, the rebato,proclaimedits derivation explicitly.57 Moslem tactics were not only copied by the Christians, so much so that the Reconquest can even be represented as essentially long centuries of marauding raids; the regulations covering the organization, command and discipline of the cabalgada
Lexico Peninsular", Boletin de la Real Academia Espaiola, xv (I928), pp. 347, 496-542; on the organization of the ribat see ibid., pp. 358 ff.; the quotation from
56 J. Oliver Asin, "Origen Arabe de 'Rebato', 'Arrobda'y sus Hom6nimos. Contribuci6nal Estudio de la Historia Medieval de la Tactica Militar y de su

Averroesis on p. 362 n. 5; for the influenceof the ribaton the Spanish military orders see pp. 540-2. For a tentative denial of this influence see Lomax, La Orden de Santiago, p. 3; J. O'Callaghan,"The Affiliation of the Order of Calatravato the Order of Citeaux", Analecta Sacri OrdinisCisterciensis, xv
(I959),

On Alcantarasee O'Callaghan,"The Foundation of the Order of Alcantara


I 76-12I8",

PP. I76-8.

See also F. Gutton, L'Ordre de Calatrave (Paris, I955).

Avis see Lomax, "Algunos Estatutos Primitivos de la Orden de Calatrava", Portugal",Bol. de la R. Acad. de Hist., cxxx (1952), pp. 324-36. On Calatrava la Nueva see O'Callaghan, "Sobre los Origines de Calatravala Nueva",
Hispania, xciii (I963), pp. 495 ff. Bol. de la R. Acad. de Hist., cxli (I957), pp. 28, 79-II4. 57 Both cabalgadas and algaras are described in Las Siete Partidas, Pt. ii, tit. On the general Fuero de xxiii, leyes xxviii, xxix; Palomeque, loc. cit., pp. 222-3. las Cabalgadas see Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (1961), pp. 169-72. On rebato see Oliver Asin, loc. cit., pp. 372 ff. Hispania, xxi (I96I), pp. 487 ff. A. Javierre Mur, "La Orden de Calatrava en

Catholic Hist. Rev., xlvii (I96I), pp. 471-86. On the order of Evora-

la Vieja see L. Torres Balbas, "CiudadesYermas de la EspafiaMusulmana"

For an unflattering description of Calatrava

A SOCIETY ORGANIZEDFOR WAR: MEDIEVALSPAIN

69

also received detailed attentionin the statutes of the frontiertowns. For these towns were expected to fight not only when formally mobilized for large-scale campaigns led by the king but to undertake annual raids on their own initiative. As a result, elaboraterules were drawn up for recruitment, discipline, indemnificationfor losses and wounds received, intelligence and counter-intelligence when on the march and above all - the subject of the most meticulous regulations - the
division of the spoils.58

the twelfth and thirteenth centuries lived chiefly from booty in the form of cattle, slaves, moveables and even food-stuffs. However, though the Christians went in for this kind of warfare, the Infante Juan Manuel in his discussion of comparativetactics written during the first half of the fourteenth century recognized that the Moslems were much better at it, partly if not chiefly because of their superior powers of endurance.59 The equipment and above all the riding technique which the rapid manoeuvre of a maraudingband demanded was also copied from the Moslems. This was the so-called style a lajinete which was especially characterizedby short stirrups, a fairly low saddle and a palate-bit which enabled the horse to turn far more quickly than by pulling at the sides of its mouth. Both Moslems and Christians remarked on the fact that the high cantle of the saddle used by the heavily armed knight riding a la brida or with long stirrups made the latter better able to withstand a powerful lance-thrust in close battle.60 The Christians, and Juan Manuel among them, usually prided themselves on their greaterskill in pitched battle but a Hispano-Moslem writer of the late eleventh century shows that their adversaries knew how to arrangetheir battle formationfor such occasions in a mannernormally thought characteristic of western warfare only after the turn of the fourteenth century.
58For independent annual raids see Chronica Adefonsi Imperatoris, ed. Sanchez Belda, paras. 72, 115. Las Siete Partidas, Pt. ii, tit. xxii-xxx is an elaborate discussion on indemnities, rewards, booty, tactics, terminology, morale, etc., amounting to a treatise on war. For municipal laws on these topics see Palomeque, loc. cit., pp. 205-351; Pescador in CHE., xxxv-vi (1962), pp. 177-88. 59 J. M. Castro y Calvo, El Arte de Gobernar el las Obras de D. Juan Manuel Ecoles Espagnoles Dites de la Brida et de la Gineta", Revue de Cavalerie, vii pp. 301-15; R. B. Cunninghame Graham, The Horses of the Conquest (1927), (London, 1930), pp. 8-9, o0-I. Imitation could take place in the other direction especially among long-established Andalusian Moslems, but the repeated influx of Berbers from North Africa seems to have overcome and reversed this tendency: see Ldvi-Provencal, L'Espagne Musulmane au Xe Siecle, pp. I45-6.
(Barcelona, I945), pp. 194, I96-7. 60 On riding techniques see Oliver Asin, loc. cit., pp. 383-7; L. Mercier, "Les

For apart from stock-raising, these towns in

70

PAST AND PRESENT

NUMBER 35

The tactics we use [says Abf Bakr at-Turtusii] and which seem the most efficacious against our enemy are these. The infantry with their antelope shields, lances and iron-tipped javelins are placed, kneeling, in ranks. Their lances rest obliquely on their shoulders, the shaft touching the ground behind them, the point directed towards the enemy. Each one kneels on his left knee with his shield in the air. Behind the infantry are the picked archers who, with their arrows, can pierce coats of mail. Behind the archers are the cavalry. When the Christians charge, the infantry remains in position, kneeling as before. As soon as the enemy comes into range, the archers let loose a hail of arrows, while the infantry throw their javelins and receive the charge on the points of their lances. Then infantry and archers open their ranks to right and left and through the gaps they create, the cavalry rushes the enemy and inflicts upon him what Allah wills. 6

It has been suggested that the Spanish Christians paid little attention to the hierarchy of command, and it may be true that they could here have learnedsomething from the Moslems. For according to some Moslem writers a strict chain of command, from commanderin-chief to section leader, existed not only in the Praetorianguard of mercenariessurroundingthe Caliph, but also within the territorialized militia, the holders of ikta and the landownersof the early years of the Conquest. It is likely, however, that much of this meticulous Moslem hierarchy existed only in theory,62 and in any case the Christian battle formations advocated by Alfonso X and the experienced Juan Manuel, who has indeed been accused of neglecting the question of command, must have meant that very strict discipline was maintained and hence that some sort of hierarchy of command existed. For example, Alfonso X in his great law code the Siete Partidas advocated the cone whenever the numerical advantage lay with an enemy drawn up in extended ranks one behind the other. The cone, designed to break up the enemy lines, should be formed with three horse at the head, then six, then twelve, then twenty-four, etc., or by doubling from one if numbers were very small. If the enemy was numerically weaker then it was preferable to form ranks oneself in order to use the cavalry to best advantage and to envelop the opposing side. Alfonso, however, did more than discuss tactics; he also gave attention to the quality of command and to the selection and appointment of officers, incidentally revealing the survival of military
61 His description may be held valid for the tactics of Ibid., pp. 146-7. a century earlier still: see idem, Histoire de L'Espagne Musulmane, iii, p. oo00. 62 For charges of inattention to the hierarchy of command see Palomeque, loc. cit., p. 214; D. L. Isola, "Las Instituciones en las Obras de D. Juan Manuel", CHE., xxi-ii (I954), p. II4. For the Moslem chain of command see LeviOn various forms of Provencal, L'Espagne Musulmane au Xe Siecle, pp. 140-I. payment for military service in Moslem Spain see ibid., pp. 128 ff. SanchezEn a Torno los del Albornoz, Feudalismo, iii, pp. I89-214. Origines

A SOCIETY ORGANIZEDFOR WAR: MEDIEVALSPAIN

7I

ceremoniesreminiscent of a distant Germanicpast. At the end of his discussion of types of formation he remarked that the officer commanding the army, the cabdiellomayor, must in each plan of battle appoint subordinate commanders able to direct the necessary manoeuvres and maintain effective discipline. Perhaps the most important man in the army was the adalid or guide. Since the army entering enemy territory depended upon his good judgement he was given wide jurisdictional, administrativeand military powers during the campaign. A candidatewould only be appointed to the post after twelve adalideshad been consulted on his professional qualifications. Once selected, he was given a sword, horse and arms. A ricohombre would then gird him with the sword but was not to senorde caballeros give the accolade for this would make him a knight. A shield was then placed on the ground with its inner side topmost. The new adalid had to stand on it, to unsheathe his sword and to suffer the twelve men who had recommendedhim to raise the shield "as high as they could". Thus aloft he had to turn to the four points of the compass, to cut the air in the form of a cross and to cry: "In the name of God I defy all the enemies of the faith, of my lord the king, and of the land". As adalid he had the privilege of messing with knights whenever the opportunity offered, and the authority to give them military orders. The adalid as superior officer participated in the appointment of though again the chief factor infantry commanders, the almocadenes, was the professional recommendation of the candidate by twelve of his future colleagues. Part of the ceremony of appointment was a hoisting of the candidateby his twelve sponsors similar to that undergone by the adalid, although the infantrymanbrandished a lance, not a sword. More remarkable,perhaps, was the difference in support. The almocaden-electhad to stand on the shafts of two lances; even the legislator has doubts about this feat and urges the sponsors to see to it that neither the lances break nor their new colleague fall. Finally, to drive home the need for competence and orderly promotion,Alfonso insisted that even though a man should merit selection as adalid, he must rise through the ranks: "A good almocadenis made from a good foot soldier and a good mounted almogdver[an intermediaterank which is otherwise not described] is made from a good almocaden,and from a good mounted almogdvera good adalid". Juan Manuel did not speak of the selection of officersand the troop formations he advocatedecho the Siete Partidas, though not so closely as to suggest that he was not speaking from personal experience. Indeed, he stressed far more than did Alfonso the importance of

72

PAST AND PRESENT

NUMBER 35

considering and countering enemy formations. And he implicitly assumed a high degree of discipline and an adequate command by insisting that a line-formation of four or five ranks behind one another should move so close together that the heads of each line of horse would touch the haunches of the one in front.63 No doubt the opportunity for contrast and comparison with a society different not only in its religious and social structure but also in its military organization, explains why thoughtful Spaniards, like Juan Manuel, were stimulated to analyse first principles in warfare in far greater detail than their European contemporaries. Juan Manuel had, however, a blind spot: he was neither interested in nor appreciative of the caballerosvillanos. This was probably because he was manic on the subject of genealogy and nobility, particularlyhis own. There was no greater believer in the mystique of caballeria,an honour exclusive to hidalgos,a noble order, entry into which was only possible by means of a ceremonial and symbolic initiation - the accolade. According to him and other nobles, only the members of this order were the true defenders of the land.64 The caballeros villanos were tacitly ignored. It was partly the result of the extraordinary position achieved by the best equipped caballeros villanos (a position which in all essentials of privilege approximated them to the nobles and which led them from the end of the thirteenth centuryto want to cross the final hurdle and actuallybe called hidalgos) that the notion of caballeriaand, almost synonymously, of hidalguia, began to hedged with nearly impenetrable genealogical criteria. It had from an early date been a matter of blood rather than function. In the twelfth century a Portuguese statute distinguished between a milesper naturamwho did not lose his privilege with his horse and a miles non per naturamwho did:65 a neat contrast between privilege granted as a productive investment and privilege retained as a luxury. But by the end of the thirteenth century many non-noble knights had come to enjoy all the concrete privileges of nobility. The erstwhile close connection between their privilege and their military usefulness was slackening partly as a result of the success of the Reconquest which led, in the hinterland, to large scale commutation of their services, partly because they had begun to be paid for the
63 Battle formations and the selection of officers are described in Las Siete Partidas, Pt. ii, tit. xxiii, ley xvi and tit. xxii, leyes i-vi, respectively. On Juan Manuel see Castro y Calvo, op. cit., p. I93. 64D. Isola, loc. cit., pp. 114-8. Las Siete Partidas, Pt. ii, tit. xxi, ley ii. For Juan Manuel's exalted notions of his social status see El Libro de los Castigos o Consejos que Fizo D. Juan Manuel o El Libro Infinido (Bibl. Aut. Esp., xli, I860), caps. v-vi. 65 Pescadorin CHE., xxxiii-iv (1961), pp. 121-2, 2II.

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73

latter in any case.66 Privilege which attached to their blood and not their function would be a useful acquisition. Furthermore the slowing down of the Reconquest meant that an important source of income with which they had maintained their status, was on the decrease. It is precisely when the opportunities for gaining booty waned that the cloth industry began to rise in the old frontier towns of the Castilian Meseta; just as, at this very point in the thirteenth century, the insistent claim began to be heard that true caballeriawas impossible for artisans and merchants. According to Alfonso X:
In ancient times, in order to create knights, men chose hunters in the mountains who were men of great endurance, and carpenters and smiths and masons because they were accustomed to giving blows and their hands are strong. Also butchers, because they were used to killing live things and shedding their blood. Such men are well formed, strong and lithe. The Ancients chose knights in this manner for a very long time. But when they saw that in many cases their proteges, lacking verguenza [a sense of honour], forgot the reasons for their elevation and instead of defeating their enemies were defeated themselves, men knowledgeable in these matters looked for knights who, by their nature, possessed verguenza .... For they held a weak man with the will to endure far preferable to a strong one who easily fled. Because of this the authorities saw to it that knights should be men of good lineage ....

The historian-kingis preparedto do no more than recognize historical fact and write a grateful epitaph over what he somewhat prematurely described as an anachronism.67 The caballeros villanoswere becoming outdatedin the sense that as a result of the Hundred Years' War the importance of infantry was increasinglyrecognized in the Peninsula. Even before this the Catalan and Aragonese almogdveres, bred to a life of perpetual plunder on the Valencian border before the Castilian occupation of Murcia in 1264 cut them off from direct contact with Moslem areas, had achieved international fame as the shock-troops of the Catalan maritime empire, well able to hold their own, in spite of their light equipment, against heavily armoured French knights.68 Alfonso X himself had
66 Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (1961), Palomeque, loc. cit., pp. 239, 3I9-42. pp. I85, I87, I9I-2; xxxv-vi (1962), pp. 152-5. Sanchez-Albornoz, En Torno a los Origines del Feudalismo, i, pp. 164, I84. 67 Grassotti, "Para la Historia del Botin y de las Parias en Le6n y Castilla", CHE., xxxix-xl (I964), pp. 79. Lacarra, "Les Villes-Frontieres dans l'Espagne des XIe et XIIe Siecles", Moyen Age, Ixix (I963), pp. 220-I. SanchezThe quotation is in Las Siete Albornoz, Espaia, Un Enigma, ii, p. I20. Partidas, Pt. ii, tit. xxi, ley ii. 68 P. E. Russell, English Intervention in Spain and Portugal in the Time of Edward III and Richard II (Oxford, I955), p. 374. P. de Bofarull y Mascar6, Colecci6n de Documentos Ineditos del Archivo de la Corona de Aragdn (Barcelona, I850), vi, pp. 72-6. F. Soldevila, Els Almogcvers (Collecio Popular Barcino, cxlix, I952), passim. For the use of infantry in the reconquest of Granada and the subsequent transformation of the Spanish infantry into the most efficient troops in Europe see Elliott, op. cit., pp. 34, 123-4.

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recognized the occasional extreme usefulness of a "few, but good" infantry troops as against "many and bad". But his disparagement of the non-noble knights rather than cavalry forces in general shows that he was prompted by a desire to underline both the glamour and the necessity of a concept - caballeria - which was becoming increasinglyaristocratic.69 The need to rush to the defence of pure hidalguia was indeed accentuated by Alfonso's own successors. Already in the late thirteenth century lawsuits were brought against those who claimed to be nobles and whose claims were denied by nobles anxious to preserve caste privileges. But in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the problem became particularlyacute; for in the civil wars of this period the monarchsbegan to sell patents of nobility to anyone, even infantrymen, who would serve them gratis for a fixed period against rebellious nobles. The most vociferous opponents of this practice were the city-representativesin the Cortes who expressed the concern of the municipal authorities at the diminishing number of tax-payers. This could lead, at least on paper, to the revocation of even old-established privilege. In the privileges granted by the Order of Santiago to Villamayor in 1338 the equivalence of hidalgos and caballeros villanos in tax-exemption and "honour" was stated; in I403 it was revoked as "injuriousto our other, taxpaying, subjects".70 The attempt to deal with this fiscal problem at the same time revealed the prevailing notions as to what was or was not compatible with the "honour" of knighthood. Thus in 1442 in the Cortes of Valladolid, Juan II, answering yet another petition on the subject, established a three-fold distinction. It ranged from the humblest caballerovillano who, if of recent vintage, could no longer expect any fiscal privilege at all, through a mediate grade whose members had some but not spectacular privileges, failing to qualify for the latter because they did not live "nobly" since they were not full-time knights but engaged in trade. The third and highest class were in fact to be hidalgosprecisely because they were no longer contaminated with commoner occupations (ofifios baxos). More than a century earlier Alfonso X had given as a reason for stripping a man of his knighthood: "a personal engagementin commerce or any low manual
69 Las Siete Partidas, Pt. ii, tit. xxii, leyes v, ix. See also Cronica de Sancho IV (Bibl. Aut. Esp. lxvi), p. 71; M. Gaibrois, op. cit., p. 68 n. 4; E. Benito Ruano, "Balduin II de Constantinople y la Orden de Santiago", Hispania, xii
70 Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (1961), pp. 213-27. On the various trades in which caballeros villanos are found see idem, CHE., xxxix-xl (I964), pp. 239-42. On Villamayor see R. Gibert, Los Fueros de Sepilveda, p. 419.

(1952),

p. 31.

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75

occupation to earn money, without being a prisoner of war".I7 In I447 the king gave examples, since confusion had arisen, of what he meant by base occupations: carpenter, tailor, furrier, stonemason, smith, barber, grocer, cobbler, etc.72 Thus a polarization of the caballerosvillanos was taking place, or being insisted upon, made easier by the fact that, from the twelfth century, privilege within their ranks had been graduatedaccordingto equipment and hence, usually, to wealth. Now the distinctions were general and much sharperwith the lowest level embedded in the tax-paying classes and the highest creamed off into the nobility. Not that even the I447 rulings were easily applicable: there were many complaints from men who claimed that they had sold their businesses and left their trades in order to maintain the habit and "honour" of knighthood undefiled, to live, as required, by "the office of arms", and yet were still being taxed and
so threatened with ruin. 7

But whether or not the ramparts of blood and caste were raised around the notion of Honour, a chain of reasoning had established itself, which although not alien to the rest of Europe was particularly markedin Spain as a result of the long centuries of frontier existence. Honour was the rewardof cavalryservice in a just and preferablyholy war. This service in turn was both the consequence and the cause of wealth, and wealth was essentiallybooty in land, cattle and moveables. The links in this chain became so welded together that it was sometimes possible to get confused and to invert the process. Even the knights of St. John of Jerusalem,dedicated to war for a noble cause, could suffer from this confusion. After James I of Aragon had already conquered Mallorca and divided the land and spoils, the Hospitallers arrived, late, on the island. They took James aside and pleaded with him to give them a share: "For", they said, "the Hospital would for ever be dishonoured should they have no part in the taking of Mallorca". The intimate association of land, wealth and privilege, not only with military valour in a holy war but also with guerrilla tactics in
71Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (1961), p. 217 n. 207 gives the text but, inexplicably, misinterprets it. Las Siete Partidas, Pt. ii, tit. xxi, ley xxv; also ibid, ley xii. The distinction between knighthood and nobility which, by the late middle ages, was getting thoroughly blurred, could still be made as late as 1786 in a suit which lasted twenty years: A. de Lasala y Perruca, "Las Ciudadanos Caballeros de la Ciudad de Zaragoza", Hidalguia, xii (I964), pp. 625-38. 72 Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (I96I), p. 218 n. 208. Sepilveda had already discriminated against the suburban knight who was an artisan: R. Gibert, op. cit., p. 4I9.
73

Pescador in CHE., xxxiii-iv (1961), pp. 219-20.

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enemy territory; the optimism which made prophecies of a speedy end to Moslem rule popular in the early days of the Reconquest and later permitted Castile and Aragon solemnly to partition the spheres of future conquest at a time when the Almohade threat was at its height and the results of many painful campaignswere being snatched away from the Christians; the long training in the belief that wealth lay beyond the horizon: it was this prolonged and complex conditioning which made it almost inevitable that, once America had been discovered, it should be a handful of Castilianswho would undertake the conquest of the New World.74 Elena Lourie Universityof Birmingham

74Jaume I, Cronica (Collecio Popular Barcino, 1927), cap. 95 (my italics) For the treaties of Tudelen and Cazorla in II5 and II79 respectively see J. Miquel Rosell, Liber Feudorum Major (Barcelona, I945), i, pp. 39-42, 49-5I. For a similar treaty in II58 between Le6n and Castile during their final period see J. Gonzalez, Regesta de Fernando II (Madrid, of separation (II57-I230) 1943), p. 33. Sanchez-Albornoz, "De las Causas de la Conquista y Colonizacion de America por Espafia", Bol. de la Academia Nacional de la Historia de Buenos Aires, xvii (1944), pp. 199-201.